Goodnight, Jungle…

We pile into Myra’s kitchen at dark, with a feels-like-home familiarity.

Dinner of frijoles and fish (caught fresh that morning, hung from the rafters to smoke all day over the kitchen fire).

We are careful to pick the bones clean, for Marlon’s approval.

Lingering extended family wander home with sleepy children.

Little Mauricio sits, whittling a stick of wood, with a machete the size of his leg.

Wine is brought out and Flea (the kitten) is passed around, from lap to lap, as we trade stories, languages and jokes. Hilarious, sometimes inappropriate, jokes. The kind that leave us holding our sides and gasping for air.

Finally, around midnight when the wine and late hour have cancelled out the dinner coffee, we close up the kitchen and move to our beds. Goodnights are sung through the rafters, and I lay awake for a minute longer, listening to the sounds of a Nicaraguan house falling to sleep, in the pitch-black night.

The soft movement of blankets. The rustle of trees. The grunt-snore of the pig. The white hen (with her brood of fluffy chicks huddled under her feathers) as they lazily peep in the corner of the living room, below the bench.